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International Widows Day debate

International Widows Day debateAn article written by Dr Roxana Willis, Junior Research Fellow in Law, was cited in the briefing paper of a recent House of Lords debate on 19 June. Lord Loomba raised the motion, asking “Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to empower widows in developing countries and to mark International Widows Day 2019.”

International Widows Day is held on 23 June each year to raise awareness of the 258 million widows around the world with nearly one in ten widows living in extreme poverty. Dr Willis’s article examines how tradition and custom affects the ability of widows in Cameroon to hold property.

Dr Willis commented: “I was delighted to learn that Lord Loomba raised the issue of widows’ rights in the House of Lords, calling for action to empower widows in the run up to International Widows’ Day. I was also pleased to learn that a piece of research I conducted with the support of an excellent research team into widow dispossession in Cameroon partly informed Edward Scott’s report presented to the House of Lords. Widows being denied inheritance rights is one of many prevailing legal lacunae created by British colonial rule, and it’s important for the government to recognise this and take reparative action. Lord Loomba’s efforts to raise such issues in the House of Lords marks a positive step forwards.”

You can find the briefing paper and the full report on Parliament’s website. Dr Willis is also one of the women in Univ’s profile series celebrating 40 years of women at Univ.

Published: 18 July 2019

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